IO, Jakarta – The masses of people gathering in front of the Election Monitoring Agency (Badan Pengawas Pemilihan Umum – “Bawaslu”) on Tuesday and Wednesday, 21-22 May 2019, were common citizens standing to demand justice. 3-4 million people arriving from various community organizations, religions, and areas joined the National People Sovereignty Movement (Gerakan Nasional Kedaulatan Rakyat – “GNKR”) to lodge their demand that justice be upheld in the country. Their desire is that Bawaslu, as the referee in the 2019 Elections, be fair and disqualify Presidential Candidate Pair 01 for having performed many illegal actions in order to win the 2019 Presidential Elections.
National Mandate Party (Partai Amanat Nasional – “PAN”)’s Honorary Council Chairman Amien Rais, who was present in the midst of the masses gathering in the Sarinah crossroad, Thamrin, Central Jakarta, expressed his concern over the death of the 7 victims during the riots on Tuesday night (21/05/2019). “200 of our friends are still in the hospital. Let us all pray for them, as well as for the 7 mujahid husnul khotimah (martyrs who died a good death); may their sins be forgiven,” he said.
Amien emphasized that there should be no violence in the 22 May action. He said that the people will become winners in this way. “But one thing is for sure: we will chase them to ends of Indonesia, whoever they might be. We are sure that with the cry of Allahu Akbar, Allah is Great, there is nothing to fear at all, we fear nothing but Allah. Therefore, we are walking according to Allah’s command; we keep on walking Insha Allah (as Allah wills it), we shall win,” he said.
Absolutely Peaceful Protest
Chairwoman of the Working Party Deliberation Council Siti Hediati Hariyadi, more commonly called Mbak Titiek, has kept her promise to be present in the 21-22 May’s peaceful protest. Titiek, who attended the protest just after the breaking of the fast, had difficulty in reaching the action command vehicle. The density of the masses crowding the Sarinah building parking lot and the surrounding roads forced Mbak Titiek to climb up and over the Sarinah fence with the help of a plastic chair. “We will continue our struggle, to demand our constitutional rights and uphold justice,” she said.
On the previous day, Mbak Titiek was amazed to see the high number of household moms (Emak-emak) attending the peaceful protest in front of Bawaslu’s office. Titiek accused the police of securing the venue too seriously by carrying firearms. Polda Metro Jaya Spokesman Argo Yuwono said that 45,000 police and army personnel were deployed to secure vital and strategic locations such as main roads, economic centers, Election Commission (Komisi Pemilihan Umum – “KPU”) office, and Bawaslu office.
Member of the Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam – “FPI”) Guidance Council Muchsin Alatas, who commanded the masses, reiterated that GNKR is an extremely peaceful protest. He told the masses to refrain from anarchy and violence. “We must never be violent or anarchic, unless they injure us,” he said.
Habib Muchsin further stated that the masses had performed their protest peacefully in front of Bawaslu office the previous night. Habib Muchsin stated that a riot triggered by another group occurred when the protest ended. “When we took our leave from the police, which is the law enforcement force with the right to secure our action, suddenly a group came and launched an attack against the law enforcement, i.e. the Brimob and the police. The attack lasted from 22.30 p.m. WIB to 23.00 p.m. WIB. What happened happened, but we regret that it became a super-brutal tragedy with responsibility resting with the law enforcement,” he said.
At a Crossroads
Separately, former Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs Rizal Ramli stated that Indonesian citizens are guaranteed the right to express their opinions in public. Rizal also alluded to the case of the deaths of hundreds of Elections Organization Group (Kelompok Penyelenggara Pemungutan Suara – “KPPS”) officers. He then stated that our people are now at a crossroads. “Are we going to use fraudulent ways, unfair ways, increasingly authoritarian ways? We all fought hard to ensure that our country becomes a democratic and responsible country that values all of its citizens. I am very sad – today we have returned to an authoritarian era, where law enforcement is used to arrest people negligently by misusing the Anti-Conspiracy Law,” he said.
Rizal further stated that in English, a conspiracy or coup d’état is only performed, and can only be performed, by armed organizations. It is impossible for unarmed, peaceful people to be guilty of conspiracy. Furthermore, the right to gather, to express opinions and dissatisfaction, are guaranteed by the Constitution of 1945. In other words, we may gather together, express our opinions as long as we do so peacefully and without violence. This is guaranteed by the Constitution of 1945. “Anyone who restricts the people’s right to express their opinions, to assemble, basically violates the Constitution of 1945; are we going to let it go like that?” he said.
Rizal also recalled the 17.5 million suspicious voter data entries in the Final Voters’ List (Daftar Pemilih Tetap – “DPT”) and the 13.5% of total Voting Points (Tempat Pemungutan Suara – “TPS”) with erroneous inputs. “We don’t want this fraudulent Government that does not support the people. This is no longer about winning or losing, this is no longer about Prabowo and Jokowi. What we are fighting against is fraud, what we are fighting against is injustice. Insha Allah (as Allah wills it), the truth will be upheld, in the end there will be changes by and for the people, for all of us,” he said.
Similarly to Rizal, GNKR Coordinator Jumhur Hidayat abhors and despises the tragedy of excessive action by law enforcement that resulted in deaths and injuries. “We demand that the police be held responsible for the humanitarian tragedy and human right violations that have occurred, and we demand that the Government set up an independent fact-finding team to investigate this case,” he said.
Not Paid Masses
After the masses broke their fast together and perform the Maghrib and Isha prayers together, they were slow to leave the venue, despite having been ordered to do so. Even though they have waved at the police and thanked them for having secured the perimeter along the roads surrounding Bawaslu’s office, with full arms and uniform, the masses lingered at the venue. After lady activist Neno Warisman and People’s Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) Vice Chairman Fadli Zon appeared for consecutive orations on top of an action vehicle, the masses finally slowly walked out from outside the Bawaslu yard, chanting the shalawat (praises) of the Prophet along the way
Neno returned to meet the peaceful protest masses at about 19.35 p.m. WIB. She was welcomed with thunderous takbir (praises of Allah’s greatness), applause, and cheers. Neno stated that what she directly saw was vastly different from news of a mob. “It’s very different from what people say. My brothers and sisters here only want justice,” she said.
Meanwhile, Fadli Zon stated that the millions who attended the 21-22 May peaceful protest are good people, religious people. “Therefore, I told the police that these are our people.” Furthermore, they came by themselves without any payment or external mobilization. “I believe that my brothers who came from Aceh to Papua came of their own free will with nobody payed them to do so, right?” Fadli stated, to the response of “Right!” from the masses.
Fadli reiterated that the peaceful protest is at the people’s own initiative. Any accusation that they have been paid is slander. Fadli requested that the protesters maintain peaceful action. He also requested that law enforcement should be professional. He notes that most of the fallen are young people. “I am very concerned with this situation, especially since that so many of the common people have fallen. Law enforcement should have been more professional, more persuasive in responding to an expression of opinion protected by the law. I think that’s it,” he said. (D. Ramdani)